More than 50% of people with female anatomy will experience a urinary tract infection in their lifetimes. It’s such a common experience that almost everyone has questions about how UTIs happen.
We think about urination every day at pStyle—it’s our business! So let’s begin by clearing up a question we hear sometimes: can a pStyle cause a UTI?
The short answer is no; the pStyle and other urination devices do not cause UTIs. They can support your urinary health by making it easier to pee and, therefore, encouraging hydration.
The Science of UTIs
How does a woman get a urinary tract infection (or anyone else, for that matter)? By far, the most common cause of UTIs is E. coli, a species of coliform bacteria which lives in poop. Infectious bacteria move from the back of the body to the front and infect the urethra.
People with female anatomy have significantly shorter urethras, usually about 4 centimeters long. Coliform bacteria move from the anus to colonize the vagina, make their way to the opening of the urethra, and continue inward toward the bladder.
UTIs can infect the urethra, the bladder, and even the kidneys. Urinary tract infection symptoms differ for each of these. During urethral infection, you might experience a burning sensation or discharge.
With a bladder infection, people commonly experience pelvic pressure, frequent, painful urination, or blood in the urine. A kidney infection is the most serious. Symptoms can include a fever, shaking and chills, nausea and vomiting, and back or side pain.
Many factors can contribute to UTIs, but there’s more solid scientific evidence to explain some factors and less evidence for others. Remember, all urinary tract infection’s causes are bacterial; other non-bacterial risk factors do not cause the infection, but they can make an infection more or less likely by creating an environment where bacteria can proliferate.
- Cleaning and wiping habits. Always go from front to back.
- Vaginal douching.
- Peeing less often than every four hours.
- Tight or synthetic underwear.
- Not changing underwear daily.
- Not washing hands before touching genitals.
Catheters are a direct risk factor for UTIs. Catheterization opens up the urethra and, if repeated, can even cause internal scarring. Unlike stand-to-pee devices, which make a simple bridge for urine to exit the body, catheters enter the body and push the urethra open.
The prolonged opening during catheterization makes the urethra significantly more vulnerable to bacterial infection.
Hydration and Holding it
No matter how much water you drink, the amount of urea you need to eliminate will not change that much.
If you aren’t drinking enough water or are holding your urine, urea will become concentrated in the bladder. It can lead to bladder inflammation, creating a welcoming environment for bacteria to grow.
Having a handy STP device helps you drink more water because you can pee when needed.
Some risk factors are related to sex.
- Not peeing after sex
- Not washing hands or other body parts before they touch the genitals
- The use of spermicides.
- Taking on new sexual partners.
Suppressed Immune Systems
A compromised immune system can allow bacteria to get a foothold and start growing, making the infection more severe. Being on chemotherapy, living with HIV, or being pregnant are just a few things that can compromise the immune system.
Urinary tract infection medication is usually antibiotics. These medications are highly effective, but antibiotic resistance is increasingly common. Ask for a urine culture test so your doctor can target the medication for your specific infection.
Introducing… The pStyle
The pStyle is a simple, handheld plastic funnel that lets you pee standing up without undoing clothing besides a zipper and belt. Check out our instruction blog for more details on how to use it.
Having a pStyle handy means it’s easier to stay hydrated and urinate when needed since issues like lack of clean restrooms are less of a problem when you can stand to pee without getting undressed.
Look up urinary tract infection treatments, and you will see information about antibiotics and various non-pharmaceutical approaches. But what about prevention? Here are some healthy habits that can help.
Drink plenty of water, and pee when you need to. Dehydration stresses the urinary system, and excessively retained urine allows infectious bacteria to proliferate.
Pee After Sex
Peeing right after sex flushes the urethra, and while it’s not proven to prevent UTIs, it’s a good practice to clean the urethra out. If an STP device makes it easier for you to pee anytime you need to, then it’s contributing to your urinary health!
Proper pStyle Use
The back of the pStyle stand-to-pee device should cup the back of the vulva. Doing this prevents leaks and keeps the pStyle away from the anus, where coliform bacteria may be present.
Clean your pStyle with mild soap and water whenever possible. Check out our cleaning blog for more information.
Immune System Care
A healthy immune system is the most essential tool for fighting off infections. Support your immunity by getting plenty of sleep, eating unprocessed foods, and finding ways to reduce stress.
Healthy vaginal flora is also part of your immune defense. Avoid vaginal sprays or scented douches; they disrupt the beneficial flora that will defend you by crowding out coliform bacteria.
STP devices will not give you a UTI. These are bacterial infections, almost always originating from coliform bacteria from the anus. No single behavior can cause or prevent a UTI, but some behaviors are riskier, and others will keep you healthier.
Try the pStyle!
After years of experience and many thousands of happy customers, we can confidently recommend the pStyle as part of good urinary health. We hope this information helps you to take care of your body and your health. Urinary tract infections are no fun — we know, we’ve had them too.